Sunday, 22 March 2009

Smells Like Spring Spirit

Eggs in the pasta flour

pasta flour for ravioli
This picture makes me think of Easter. Eggs in the pasta flour.
Straining the mushroom stockStraining the mushroom stock
Straining the mushroom stock, picked on my trek to the Withnail and I cottage in Cumbria.



A mix of Portobello (brought from Portobello rd hehe), button and oyster mushrooms.
chopping onions
Chopping onions, melting them in butter
double cream and milk for a frothy onion capuccino
Adding equal parts double cream and milk for a frothy onion capuccino
ravioli, sealing the parcels with egg
production line of ravioli, sealing the parcels with egg 
The production line of ravioli, sealing the parcels with egg.

Cutting them with a small wooden zigzag wheel. the ravioli

Laying out the ravioli to dry, some even on the Aga
Laying out the ravioli to dry, some even on the Aga!

basil for the garnishwilted basil with ice
Chopping up the basil for the garnish, freshening up the wilted basil with ice.

fresh ravioli stuffed with a mix of mushrooms, onion capuccino sauce
The final plate, fresh ravioli stuffed with a mix of mushrooms, onion capuccino sauce. Created by Charlie Nelson.
Rocket salad, 50p a bunch at PortobelloSalmon smeared with blackened seasoning, in a pouch of olive and walnut oil, white wine
        Rocket salad, 50p a bunch at Portobello. Salmon smeared with blackened seasoning, in a pouch of olive and walnut oil, white wine. 
      Mix for the tarte au citron
      Mix for the tarte au citron  
 Rose-water meringues
 Rose-water meringues                                                                   
Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits plays 'Rocket Man' on the piano
Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits plays 'Rocket Man' on the piano

Last night, my parents came to the Underground Restaurant for the first time.
"Who else is coming?" asked my mum.
"Amongst others, four of Britain's top food bloggers," I say.
"What are their names?" she asks.
"Cheese n Biscuits, Eat like a girl, Hollow legs and Food Stories."
"What imaginative parents they have!" quipped my mum.

Charlie and I spent all day making the ravioli. It's a meditative process, the ritual of kneading the egg yellow dough, feeding the tongue of pasta through the machine again and again, each time on a narrower notch, laying out the strips, a production line of little dollops of mushroom mixture sealed by egg into parcels. For the recipe read his blog post here.
I was chatting to Charlie about one of my guests for next weeks' astrology and food night, the renowned astrologer and psychic Jessica Adams. Jessica told me a few weeks ago that my great-grandmother is helping me with the Underground Restaurant. As she spoke I started to get goosebumps.

"Can you feel that?" she said, squinting at me.
"Yes," I replied, amazed, a spooky mix of disturb and comfort.
As I recounted this incident to Charlie, the same feeling happened, I felt a tingle, a shiver. I looked at Charlie and he, a sensible and down to earth young man, said:
"I'm coming out in goose pimples, look at my arms!"
Very weird. As if her spirit passed through the kitchen. 
One guest was vegan. The last few weeks have had almost entirely vegan menus. But I felt like making fish for tonight. Despite my atheism, unconsciously I do link Spring to Easter and Christianity, although the word Easter and the tradition of Easter eggs is pre-Christian, from Babylon. The symbol for Christianity is fish, Pisces. For my vegan guest I replaced the salmon with smoked tofu and seed burger. We made a special portion of vegan, no egg, pasta and used soy cream for the sauce (the onions did not melt properly in vegan margarine however). I made a vegan chocolate mousse with Green & Blacks' Mayan Gold. As Eat like a Girl remarked, it tasted like Fry's Chocolate Cream.

My teen and her friend the lycée bomb hoaxer waitressed. My parents sat with her parents and their 10 year old daughter, who was tucked up into my bed when she got tired. (File under 'yet another difference between normal restaurants and home restaurants'.)

4 comments:

  1. And what a fantastic evening it was! Brilliant. You were an excellent hostess. Chris was great on the piano too wasn't he? Love that last picture.

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  2. It was, as Helen said, a great evening. Excellent food too, that onion cappucino was really moreish.

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  3. Thanks for coming.You were all such good fun. I only wish I could have hung out more with you.
    I loved the fact that Chris played...so in the spirit of the whole thing! Need to get it tuned though...anyone know a piano tuner? Will give dinner in return...

    x

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  4. I visit London frequently and ever since Easyjet made it so easy and affordable we usually go every year, even for one single day (next time is May 1). Now, I'm SERIOUSLY considering staying a whole weekend some time so that I can visit your UR. I'll let you know well in advance. Until then, reading your blog will have to do.

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